Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

While Samsung’s higher-end flagship phones usually get most of the attention, the company also makes some decent budget-oriented devices. Those ultra-cheap phones are part of Samsung’s “A series,” and the latest model is the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G. I’ve spent about two weeks using the Galaxy A15 5G, and you get a lot of smartphone for $200 with this device. The display, camera, battery life, and software are all pretty good considering the price point.

But it’s rare that any phone in 2024 struggles with basic day-to-day usage, like multitasking and using apps. And the Galaxy A15 5G, using a mediocre MediaTek processor, is downright slow. If you can spend $100 or $200 more on a smartphone, your experience will be a lot better. With that being said, the Galaxy A15 5G is just about the best you’ll find in the $200 price range. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G: Price & availability

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Samsung launched the Galaxy A15 5G at the end of 2023, and it retails for $200. You can get it at that price from Samsung and Best Buy now. You’ll find the Galaxy A15 5G at Amazon as well, but many product listings are at higher prices and include a bundled microSD card. Buyers can also purchase the Galaxy A15 5G from select cellular carriers, such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and UScellular. 

The Galaxy A15 5G has one configuration, and it features 128GB of storage and 4GB of memory. However, it has an included microSD card slot, so you can add up to 1TB of additional storage. You can get it in two colors: Blue Black and Light Blue. My Galaxy A15 5G loaner review unit, provided by AT&T, came in Blue Black. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G: What I like

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

When you first pick up the Galaxy A15 5G, it’ll feel like Samsung’s more premium smartphones. Aside from the Galaxy S24 Ultra, the rest of the company’s phones feature a flat design with rounded corners. The Galaxy A15 5G also doesn’t have a large camera bump, but each rear camera lens will slightly protrude from the back casing. 

One unique thing about the Galaxy A15 5G is something known as the “Key Island.” The right side of the smartphone is where you’ll find the volume rocker and power button, but portion of the aluminum frame that houses these buttons protrudes from the rest. That makes it easier to feel around and find the Key Island without looking. However, it doesn’t necessarily make those buttons any easier to press, especially one-handed. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Midrange phones have a history of always getting the ports right, and that’s true of the Galaxy A15 5G. It has a USB-C port for data and charging, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. More importantly, the SIM card tray also has a spot for a microSD card. You can add up to an extra 1TB card to the Galaxy A15 5G, completely erasing any concerns about the 128GB internal storage.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

There are plenty of things about the Galaxy A15 5G that will make you incredibly impressed that this phone only costs $200. For me, nothing was more paramount than the display. It’s a 6.5-inch, AMOLED panel that supports 90Hz refresh rates and 800 nits of peak brightness. 

Sure, there are things about the Galaxy A15 5G’s display that could be better. The bezels are somewhat large, teardrop camera cutouts went out of style a while ago, and the glass is super reflective. But overall, I didn’t miss the display on my flagship phones too much while daily-driving the Galaxy A15 5G.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Samsung Galaxy A15 5G specs
Category Samsung Galaxy A15 5G
OS Android 14, four years of updates
Display 6.5-inch AMOLED, 90Hz refresh rate
Chipset Mediatek Dimensity 6100+
RAM 4GB
Storage 128GB
Audio Speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC
Security Fingerprint sensor
Protection No IP rating
Battery 5,000 mAh
Dimensions 6.32 inches x 3.02 inches x 0.33 inches
Weight 197 grams
Color Blue Black, Light Blue
Rear cameras 50MP main camera, 5MP ultrawide, 2MP macro
Selfie camera 13MP wide camera

Smartphone cameras have come a long way, and you can see recent advancements in both the high and low ends of the market. There are absolutely phones that can produce better photos than the Galaxy A15 5G, albeit at a higher cost. However, the Galaxy A15 5G has cameras that offer stunning quality for $200.  I’ve tested a handful of phones more expensive than the Galaxy A15 5G with worse cameras.

You get a triple-camera system on the back of the Galaxy A15 5G, and the main sensor is 50MP with an f/1.8 aperture and auto focus. Premiums like optical image stabilization aren’t here, and neither is optical zoom. The Galaxy A15 5G does offer up to 10x digital zoom at “fine” quality, but Samsung’s UI for changing zoom multipliers is clunky. 

On budget phones like this one, the secondary and tertiary camera sensors are usually more about filling up a spec sheet than offering great quality. That’s true of the 5MP ultrawide, which enables 0.5x zoom. Ultrawide shots really aren’t good on the Galaxy A15 5G for two reasons. First, these older and cheaper camera sensors can’t provide a lot of image detail while zoomed out. Additionally, there’s a noticeable fisheye effect that will distort the edges of ultrawide images in some scenarios. 

Overall, the camera quality was more than good enough on the Galaxy A15 5G, as you can see in the above camera samples. I was particularly impressed by the 2MP macro sensor. The specs won’t jump out at you, but macro shots captured Galaxy A15 5G turned out very well. 

The last good thing worth mentioning about the Galaxy A15 5G is that it ships with Android 14 and Samsung is promising four years of software support. However, due the phone’s performance issues (which I’ll get to), I’m not sure you’ll actually want to use it for that long. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G: What I don’t like

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

Samsung got two core elements of a good smartphone right on the Galaxy A15 5G: the display and camera system. That leaves overall performance as the last thing the Galaxy A15 5G needs to be a great value pick in 2024. However, I’m disappointed to report that the MediaTek 6835 system-on-a-chip in this smartphone is simply too slow. 

If you’re using a single application, the Galaxy A15 5G runs perfectly fine after it has loaded. It’s loading the application, multitasking, and unlocking the phone that will cause problems. In my testing, the Galaxy A15 5G is colossally slow for the first 5-10 seconds after you unlock it after long periods of inactivity. Multitasking causes problems too, and you’ll need to close out apps frequently to try to give the Galaxy A15 5G a break. 

Apps will need to reload from scratch often due to the limited amount of system memory, compounding the issue. For $200, you might be able to look past these performance issues, but the Galaxy A15 5G is still the slowest phone I’ve used in a while. Running Geekbench 6 benchmarks on the smartphone confirmed my anecdotal findings, and also show that you can get a much better experience for just $100 or $200 more. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Geekbench 6 benchmark results
Smartphone Price Single-core Multi-core
Samsung Galaxy A15 5G $199 689 1,781
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) $399 910 2,692
Samsung Galaxy S24 $799 2,224 6,868

The Galaxy A15 5G might a good performer for $200, but the gap between the performance of $200 and $400 phones is pretty significant. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) was nearly a third faster than the Galaxy A15 5G, and in my testing, Motorola’s phone is considerably better in day-to-day performance. The Galaxy A15 5G isn’t competing with the Galaxy S24, but for reference, the gap between Samsung’s budget and flagship offerings is massive. 

For what it’s worth, the Galaxy A15 5G’s 5,000mAh battery lasts a full day, so the phone does have battery life going for it. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

This is a much more minor issue, but the build quality of the Galaxy A15 5G is just fine as well. I’m not a fan of the Blue Black colorway; it’s an extremely reflective plastic finish that makes the phone look and feel cheaper than it is. The Galaxy A15 5G also doesn’t have an IP rating, so keep it clear of dust and water. These are reasonable concessions to meet the phone’s ultra-low pricing, though.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G: Competition

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

If you’re firmly stuck in the $200 price range, the Galaxy A15 5G is the best there is. The OnePlus Nord N30 is available for a slightly-higher $250, but that phone has its own set of issues. In our review, we found that it has meager cameras, has poor gaming performance, and only gets one OS update. However, it’ll probably be better in day-to-day performance than the Galaxy A15 5G.

The Google Pixel 6a is also still hanging around, and you can find it around $300 to $350 today. Though it’s a few years old now, the Pixel 6a is an all-around better phone than the Galaxy A15 5G. There are plenty of phones in the $300 to $400 price range that will run laps around the Galaxy A15 5G, too. 

All this is to say that the Galaxy A15 5G is the best at the $200 price point — but if you can spend an extra few hundred dollars, you absolutely should. 

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G: Should you buy it?

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G review: A decent phone for the price

(Image credit: Brady Snyder / Android Central)

You should buy this if…

  • You want a budget Samsung phone with Android 14.
  • You only have around $200 to spend.
  • You care more about display and camera quality than performance.

You shouldn’t buy this if…

  • You can spend a few hundred dollars more for a better phone.
  • You want a phone that will comfortably last a few years.
  • Day-to-day performance is most important to you.

There are two ways to look at the Galaxy A15 5G. On one hand, Samsung has managed to cram a solid display and camera system into a 6.5-inch smartphone for just $200. On the other, arguably the most important part of a smartphone — casual, day-to-day performance — is notably lacking here.

You don’t need to spend flagship money to get a great smartphone in 2024, but I think that you do need to spend more than $200. With that said, if you only have $200 to spend, you can get by with the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G.

Via: Androidcentral

Leave a Comment